Okaloosa County deputy resigns after shooting Marquis Jackson in a patrol car, believing he was shot

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An Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office deputy has resigned in connection with an officer-involved shooting last involving the deputy and a supervisor.

Deputy Jesse Hernandez resigned Dec. 4.

"The internal investigation by Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office Professional Standards ultimately determined his use of force during a call on November 12th was not objectively reasonable," the sheriff's office says in a release. "A policy violation regarding excessive use of control to resistance was sustained."

Deputies say the investigation also determined that Sergeant Beth Roberts’ use of deadly force was objectively reasonable. She was exonerated.

The incident happened Nov. 12 around 8:40 a.m. on McLaren Circle in Fort Walton Beach.

Deputies received a call for a vehicle driving around honking its horn and disrupting the peace since 3 a.m.

A second call came in from a woman stating her boyfriend, Marquis Jackson, had committed Grand Theft Auto and had been calling and texting her threats.

"The victim provided text messages she said had been taken from inside her vehicle showing what appeared to be a firearm suppressor pointing at the dash of the victim’s vehicle," the release states. "Jackson showed up at the scene around 9:09 a.m. and was detained, searched, handcuffed, and placed in the rear of Deputy Hernandez’s patrol vehicle while the investigation continued, and the victim completed the affidavit for the stolen vehicle."

The victim told deputies Jackson had a silencer, and she was not sure where it was, according to the sheriff's office. She added that he had more than one weapon.

As Deputy Hernandez was returning with a Victim’s Rights form for the caller, other deputies found the victim’s vehicle at 1656 Hunt Club Street.

"Deputy Hernandez was approaching the passenger side rear door of his patrol car to do a secondary search of Jackson when he heard a pop sound which he perceived to be a gunshot and believed he had been hit," the release states. "He began yelling 'shots fired' multiple times, falling to the ground and rolling. He fired into the patrol car. After witnessing Deputy Hernandez’s response and reaction and fearing for his life, the Sergeant responded with gunshots towards the car as well in response to the perceived threat."

Jackson was not hit. No weapon was located.

" The audible sound Deputy Hernandez reported can be heard on body cam video and witnesses also attested they heard the sound they thought could have been a muffled gunshot," the release states.

Deputy Hernandez had been with the OCSO since January 2022. Sergeant Roberts has been with the OCSO since May 2008

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